~ Archive for New Media / Internet ~

Listen to Lawyers Talk about Experiences with Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook

ø

It seems that social networking is reaching a tipping point — everybody’s doing it. And yet, lawyers are still wary as a group. To learn more about what lawyers are thinking about and doing with these online networking tools, listen to Legal Talk Network’s Lawyer2Lawyer podcast: Social media, Twitter and law firms, with co-hosts J. Craig Williams and Robert Ambrogi. I’m still listening to it as I write this… some good concerns being discussed such as maintaining professional brand on personal networking sites, indirect vs. direct marketing benefits, will Twitter replace blogs? and more… Listen up! Listen up

UPDATE Sept. 12, 2008: Thanks to my Linkedin profile: Amy Campbell, and my weekly e-mail from the Legal Blogging Group, I came across this useful post by Darren Rowse from TwiTip: Defining Twitter Goals: A Tip for Successful Use of Twitter. Check out TwiTip for more great Twitter tips.

LinkedIn for Lawyers on the Rise?

1

Kevin O’Keefe over at Real Lawyers Have Blogs, has more to say on the topic of lawyers and social media — mostly that lawyers use of LinkedIn is becoming an avalanche… check it out.

Related post: MySpace for Lawyers?

Boston Blogger Meetup

1

Boston bloggers gathered last night to welcome to town Kevin O’Keefe, the Godfather of Law Blogging. Kevin is the president and founder of the attorney blogging platform Lexblog, Inc. He’s here in Boston to present at LMA New England’s luncheon program on Social Networking for Law Firms. The call to “meetup” went out 2 days before via e-mail and Linkedin’s Legal Blogging group, then people just showed up — that’s how it works!

Boston Bloggers Meetup

Pictured left to right: Leanna Hamill, author of Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law blog; yours truly; Kevin O’Keefe; and Bob Ambrogi of Law.com‘s Legal Blog Watch.

MySpace for Lawyers?

4

With all the talk about social networks, law firm marketers and attorneys are wondering, “Should I have a MySpace page?” Such was a flurry of activity on the Legal Marketing Association List-serv this past week where most legal marketers poo-pooed sites like Facebook and MySpace as they were mostly for ‘kids’, but opined that perhaps Linkedin might be useful as it has a more ‘business crowd.’ Currently, I’m not an active user of these systems (as blogging is my drug of choice), and I don’t expect that lawyers and law firms will start jumping in in droves, simply because as an industry they tend to be new-technology-adverse (see earlier post Lawyers Slow to Embrace Blogs ABA Survey Says).

However, and this is a huge however, I do believe that social networks can and will be an important part of internet life and business going forward and we should all become more familiar with them. Law students and young lawyers and marketers are already using them, so the train is coming. (Whether social networks remain distinct services or integrate themselves into our holistic web experience is another question to ponder.) Sure, there are the potential horror stories when folks sign up for and use technology that they don’t really fully understand.

Since law firm clients are just now starting to ask seriously about the benefits of blogging, I don’t predict a fast adoption of social networks by this same crowd. But if you want to be on the leading edge, now is the time to dip your toe into the social network waters and at least learn and evaluate. And if you see a way to use a new technology as a way to differentiate your brand, leverage your content, or improve and increase releationships and awareness — I say, go for it!

There has been plenty written on the subject of social networking including Kevin O’Keefe’s Social Networking Sites: Will they work for lawyers and other professionals?

Here are some others…
MySpace Helps Attorneys Find Clients

Facebook Grows Up

Linked in or Left Out: ‘Supercharge’ Your Interactions Through Social Networking

Online Social Networking for Lawyers — Online Networking for Fun and Profit

I’d love to hear others’ views and experiences on the topic. Please feel free to comment.

What’s the Value of Martindale in a Google-centric World?

6

Clients have been asking a lot recently about what other firms are doing regarding Martindale-Hubbell listings. The cost seems steep to most firms especially when you compare the click-throughs that come from the directory to those coming from other sources around the net. Most firms I’ve talked to are considering or have already cut back on the listings.

Gina Passarella of the Legal Intelligencer has an article that examines this topic in depth, Martindale-Hubbell Faces Challenges, and that cites an informal survey of Philadelphia law firms finding

“more firms than not said they were either eliminating or scaling back their use of Martindale-Hubbell’s listing services… [but that] pulling away from such a time-honored tradition wasn’t always an easy decision.”

At the same time, recently at the LMA New England Annual Conference in Boston, firm representatives chimed out support for Martindale in one session on web sites, saying that they could point to their web server stats showing Martindale as a top referral source. I have not had similar evidence for firm sites that I manage.

Server stats may be a useful bit of data to add to your decision making. I’m interested to hear what your firm’s experience is regarding Martindale referrals, and whether you are considering cutting back.

Please leave a comment.

Oh, and have a Merry Christmas!

Don’t Forget the Power of the Traditional Press and Other Do’s and Don’ts

ø

In this age of electronic media, it’s easy to get caught up in leveraging your web site and e-communications, that you spend so much time and energy on them, you neglect the old tried-and-true pieces of your marketing/sales/customer relationship mix. Here are a few real life scenarios that recently reminded me that e-communication is only one piece of the puzzle.

Don’t forget traditional PR.
A client of mine was interviewed at length recently in a national consumer magazine. How effective is PR? I’d say pretty darn effective! As a result of the publicity, the number of visitors to her web site tripled and the number of pages viewed increased three fold. (See “Pages Viewed” chart below.)

powerofpress.gif

Power of the press: Pages viewed coinciding with consumer magazine article

Now, does this negate the point of my earlier post that Web Sites Rule in Lead Generation? No, not at all. While the article was what captured people’s attention, the fact that my client (a plastic surgeon) had a web site with exclusive photos and video animations (content) of a specific procedure mentioned in the article was the magic bullet. Soon after the article hit the newsstands, queries to the web site under the doctor’s name and this procedure skyrocketed. If there had not been a web site for more information and follow up, the power of the article would have fallen short. Together, they pack a powerful one-two punch.

Don’t forget to ask for the business.
I have a friend who is a professional photographer who has had great success farming leads and getting new clients from his efforts of building an online presence with several web sites that are carefully and strategically search engine optimized. When things slowed down at the start of the summer, I asked him, “have you picked up the phone and called some of your favorite clients?” Oh yeah. It’s easy to get caught up in the electronic side of things. It’s important to remember to shake the tree, talk to folks, ask for the business. Apres summer is a great time to reconnect!

Do pick up the phone.
One more story. My brother, who works in television in Hollywood, was following up on a pitch he had made to an old colleague. When he e-mailed some information and then didn’t hear back, he began to worry. A day or two later, he got a phone call from the colleague who chastised him saying, “Don’t you know that I’ll take your calls!” In other words, as an old friend, he had already earned her trust and she preferred to do business in real time by phone. Are you hiding behind e-mail when communicating with folks who’d love to hear from you? Call them up and see. What’s the old saying? Reach out and touch someone? Better yet, pay them a visit.

Lawyers Slow To Embrace Blogs ABA Survey Says

2

The annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report is out and shows again that law firms are slow to adopt new technologies. There is a convenient audio summary audio summary by ABA’s Laura Ikens that discusses the results in brief covering e-discovery, blogs, and podcasts.

The interesting (though not surprising) piece to me was the low awareness and use of blogs in legal services (I first wrote on blogs as a law marketing tool in April 2003!)…

According to the ABA survey, even though it is recognized that blogs can be a great marketing tool, they are “not catching fire just yet.” Only 5% of firms (responding) produce a blog. And as awareness tools, blogs are still underutilized: more than 50% of respondents never use blogs for current awareness of current events, 22% use blogs less than once a month, 12% use them 1 to 3 times a month, and 12% once or more a week.

Furthermore, using RSS feeds and aggregators is even less common and less understood. 83% of respondents never use RSS (syndicated news feeds), and only 5% use them use them one or more times a week. Ikens reports that this low usage could be a matter of terminology as those who use tools such as MyYahoo! or iGoogle may not know they are using RSS feeds. (Aside: This is one reason why I developed Legal Marketing Reader, a web site that pulls together the headline feeds from the top blogs on law firm marketing, which sidesteps the user’s need to use or understand RSS, and just have an easy web site to bookmark for keeping up with law marketing news.)

As I said, I am not surprised by the ABA findings regarding law firms’ and attorneys’ slow adoption of these technologies, as my experience supports it. While I am sold on the benefits of blogging, lawyers as a group tend to be more cautious and risk averse. Similarly, the term and concept of RSS feeds is difficult for most people understand (see earlier post on slow adoption of RSS). And, RSS takes that little bit of extra time to set up and understand, that frankly, most busy professionals just don’t have.

That being said, the fact that others are slow to adopt these technologies, means that they are still very valid ways for motivated individuals, departments or firms to differentiate themselves, promote expertise, self-brand, and provide value to their clients and industry segments.

Go to this blog’s home page.

Web Sites Rule in Lead Generation

ø

I’ve been meaning to post on another item of interest from RainToday.com’sWhat’s Working in Lead Generation” (for professional services firms) that I originally referenced in this previous post. It is the question asking participants, Where would you spend an extra $100,000 in your sales and marketing budget? As you can imagine the answers were across the map, but the respondents most wanted to spend their $100k on a new web site. According to the report:

“Websites carry a special triple whammy regarding their addition to lead generation.

A) They generate leads in and of themselves through search engine placement.

B) They are the conduit for many other lead generation tactics. Regardless of how a prospect finds out about a firm, they almost always check out, and often make their inquiry through, the website.

C) Because websites are always “on” and everyone can look at them, leaders at service businesses are acutely aware of how they look, what they say and (often more importantly) what everyone else says about their website.”

I was happy to read this (as I help law firms develop their web presence) — and my experience confirms it. I’ve noticed a definite increase in firms (especially on the smaller end) realizing that they need to take the web more seriously. Traditionally, many lawyers have believed that they don’t really need more than a billboard web site as their business is “a relationship business,” and “we get most of our business through referrals.” But even in a relationship business, the web has become what I like to call, “the resource of first resort.” When a potential client does receive that all important referral, what’s the first thing she does? Turns to her computer and types your name into Google’s search engine.

Firms are waking up to the fact that their web presence plays an increasingly important role in how they are perceived and that it can be used to effectively to help build and strengthen existing relationships.

Other popular answers to the $100,000 question (which is nice to dream about, huh?): hiring additional staff, contracting with outside providers for branding/awareness and lead generation services, and more.

Where would you spend the dough?

48 Tips for Better Writing, Reporting

ø

Valuable footprints from this month’s National Writers Workshop in Hartford, Connecticut have been left on this Poynteronline blog, 48 Tips in 48 Hours, a collection of practical reporting and writing ideas. Even if you’re not a reporter with a beat, many of these tips are applicable to many kinds of writing and general business situations. A few of my favorites:

  • #7: Keep it simple… (click through to read more)
  • #23: Write a killer lead…
  • #21: Rewrite the lead… and the whole damn thing…
  • #26: Be the expert…
  • #40: Ask yourself why do my readers care about this topic now?

Amy’s 2006 Top Ten Web Diversions

ø

Here’s my annual internet stocking stuffed with what’s trendy, newsworthy and just plain fun in web content. Get ready for hours of viewing, listening and reading/linking pleasure! Bookmark this page for future reference. Happy Holidaze!

1. Top Web Video Spot
The web story of the year is YouTube, hands down. Its limitless potential and example of viral, user-contributed content garned $1.65 billion (gulp) when it was gobbled up by Google. For the uninitiated, here’s a brief sampler of its deep wells of self-broadcasts and bootlegs.

2. Top Example of How Big Media Works (or Doesn’t)
Here’s how the major networks covered the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, and here’s the scathing (and one would think newsworthy) 20-minute Stephen Colbert roast that was not reported or mentioned anywhere by big media. Just another reason why you should support “Net Neutrality”, Free Press, Media Matters or your local NPR station.

3. Top Viral Marketing Campaign – US
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty featured this Evolution film, which exposes the fashion industry secret that beauty really is skin deep. (More on the campaign here). If immitation is the highest form of flattery, then this campaign was well received… see parody here.

4. Top Viral Marketing Campaign – UK
This Sony Bravia commercial, which ran only in the UK, spread across the pond due to its visual vivacity and viral components, spawning spin-offs and parodies as well. (More viewing options here.)

5. Top How-Not-To-Brand Lesson
Speaking of parody, here’s a funny homemade video that answers the burning question: What if Microsoft designed the iPod?

6. Top Web Quiz Tool
At GoToQuiz.com you can design your own web quiz, or browse through existing quizzes such as these two that measure: How Massachusetts Are You? and Are You A True Red Sox Fan?

7. Top Web Mashups
“Hey, you got peanut butter in my chocolate!” Reeces may have invented the mashup in the real world, but here’s what happens when you move that concept to the web and combine publicly available data with open-architecture web apps (Web 2.0):

8. Top Web Radio Streams
Streaming radio is all around. Here are two at the top of my iTunes list. For the holidays: listen in on Xmas in Frisko, a slightly alternative Christmas playlist. For the rest of the year: dial up David Byrne Radio, it’s like having a really hip friend spinning records on your command. Or if you’re just looking for a quick work break, bookmark NPR’s Song of the Day to stay tuned in.

9. Top Full-Album Streams
iTunes (and others) reshaped the music industry, and now you can shop, sample and stream all over the web. Some favorite newcomers in 2006: Lupe Fiasco (plus video) and Cat Power. And some old favorites with streaming projects: Neil Young’s annotated Living With War is a full-album stream with ongoing news and related links, Paul Simon’s Surprise offers full streams of about half the album.

10. Top Hollywood Blogger Toppling the Tabloids
The 4-million-hits-a-day, sleazy celebrity blog, PerezHilton.com, is beating the tabloids at their own game and creating a controversy and lawsuit in the process by posting tabloid photos and adding crude comments and rough pencil sketches in the name of satire, similar to other wildly popular blogs in the genre Pink is the New Blog and the tamer by comparison Go Fug Yourself. (Hey, I don’t write ‘em I just report on ‘em.)

Count Your Blessings Bonus: The Global Rich List.

Bunny Bonus: Not to worry, here is the latest Bunny parody, Christmas Vacation in 30 Seconds Re-enacted by Bunnies! For past bunny classics, explore the archives below.

Don’t stop now, there’s still plenty of goodies in previous TTWDs:
Amy’s 2005 Top Ten Web Diversions
Amy’s 2004 Top Ten Web Diversions
Amy’s 2003 Top Ten Web Diversions

The ultimate List of Lists

How People “Read” on the Web

ø

I participated in a focus group with a client recently, which among other things, studied the way people use the web to find specific information. It was a good reminder that no matter how sophisticated we get using computers and search engines, web sites and web marketing strategies need to be designed carefully for those who spend milliseconds looking (not reading, but looking) for information. It sent me back to Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com, the bible of web usability, which is where this F-pattern “heat map” of how people “read” on the web came from. If you want to understand web user behavoir, this is a must read: F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content. See more at Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

My Web Site SEO Tips

1

If you came here looking for my web site SEO tips, you’ve come to the wrong place! A law firm management newsletter incorrectly attributed content from my article Top Ten Ways To Improve Your Web Site’s Search Engine Ranking to this blog. The article is published on my web site, just click on the link above to read it.

The article where this information appeared (without permission) is titled “Law Firm Marketing Now Dependent on Search Engine Optimization” and it has a few problems. Even though I am a big proponent of search engine optimization of web sites, I believe this title is misleading and certainly overstates the importance of SEO to law firm marketing. Also the article confuses search engine optimization with search engine marketing — two distinct but related activities. And at least one of the recommendations (“#5. Make optimized keywords an active link in e-mail correspondence”) has no impact on your web site’s search engine ranking. So if you’re a subscriber to IOMA’s Law Office Management & Administrative Report, reader beware. (At least they spelled my name correctly!)

Blogs, Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

ø

For those who still think that blogs are just diaries of what people had for breakfast… check this out: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School held yesterday a symposium titled Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship. A collection of conference papers are available here that might change your view of the serious work that blogs can do (even if you are a lawyer). An archived web cast of the conference will also be available in about a week. Happily this conference reporting on Harvard’s great blog experiment coincided with the upgrade of its blog server, so things are looking good in bloggerland from Harvard! (Did you notice my blog’s slick new look and features?)

Amy’s 2005 Top Ten Web Diversions

1

winter_holiday_03_1.gif:
1. Top Resource
Google. You knew that already, right? But do you know how to take advantage of the world’s most powerful information tool? Invest a few minutes to read The Essentials of Google Search and become the info-god you were meant to be.
Hiding behind Google’s famous front page is a host of services and tools to explore — most useful/amazing among them: Google Alerts, Google Maps, and Google Earth. Want to emulate Google as a company? Read Google’s Ten Golden Rules.

2. Top Archive
Some day all information will be available online via Google. In the meantime, there’s the Internet Archive. Dip into the archive, or type your web address into the Wayback Machine and see the past come back to life before your eyes.

3. Top User-Contributed Content Tool
Blogs are so last year. The more interesting story in 2005 is the collection of web tools that enhance web logs and web sites (and stand alone on their own merits). The standout among them is Flickr, a web app. for publishing and sharing photos online — but it is so much more. Its applications for social networking and live reporting are pushing the new-media envelope in interesting ways. Consider the role Flickr played during the immediate aftermath of the London bombings and Katrina — Flickr users on the scene shared their first-hand photo reports lickety-split from multiple perspectives. See Flickr Toys for an ever growing list of ways to use Flickr — including the Calendar maker, which helped me make this calendar for you.

4. Top Market Shift
The mass market is dead. Long live the long tail. I bookmarked The Long Tail early this year as an interesting site to keep tabs on and include as a top new media trend. Business Week seems to agree, having identified it as one of the top ideas of 2005. The net changes everything.
For a thorough introduction to the economics of the long tail, see this Wired article.

5. Top Mashes
As a collage artist, I am abnormally fond of “mash ups” — pop tunes ripped and torn, and cut-and-pasted together into a completely new beast. Last year it was the Grey Album, this year it’s the unlikely duo of Queen and 50 Cent,
listen here
. Discover more at Mash Culture — like this unlikely matchup/mashup of Dr. Dre and a track from Grease.

Holiday Bonus: This stocking full of Christmas Mash-ups. My favorite: Christmas in Boston. Also, see The Riddim Method for more mashes.

Software Bonus: Mashups aren’t just for music anymore… read “Mix, Match and Mutate — homespun combinations of mainstream services are altering the Net.”

6. Top Creative Dip
Again on the user-contributed content beat, ourmedia.org is a site to check from time to time for creativity that bubbles up rather than trickles down — like this captivating, animated song.

7. Top Bunny Re-enactment
Last year’s It’s a Wonderful Life in 30 Seconds reenacted by bunnies, cannot be outdone. But A Christmas Story in 30 Seconds reenacted by bunnies comes awfully close. Check out more bunny madness at Starz.com.

8. Top Flashback
Boot up a little Space Invaders and Pac-man and crack open a Miller High Life and it’s 1979 in Cleveland Circle all over again. These vintage video games that you can play on your PC will really take you back.

9. Top Web Toy
Montage-a-Google creates instant-art by turning your Google search term into a spiffy, topical montage. It’s great for making gift covers for iTunes CDs. View samples 1, 2, 3, 4. Now try it yourself.

10. Top of the Heap
Here’s a quick sampling of top Google rankings I have helped my clients achieve for these keyword searches:
new hampshire law firm” = #1, #2
largest settlements” = #1, #2
largest verdicts massachusetts” = #1, #2
velasmooth massachusetts” = #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
information of value” = #1

Are you looking to enhance your Google presence? Give me a call to discuss improving your visibility via search engines.

See also:
Amy’s Top Ten Web Diversions of 2004
Amy’s Top Ten Web Diversions of 2003
Top 10 list obsessed? Click here for the List of Lists

Blog Lesson #3

ø

Proving my point that if you write it they will come: whenever I blog anything halfway original or opinionated, it generates traffic. Latest case in point is the post below this one — simply a summary of an LMA panel discussion with general counsel — but something that is not available anywhere else, and of intrinsic value to the right audience. Valuable content has a way of finding its audience. This last blog has generated a good amount of traffic helped by link referrals from other blogs including: The Wired GC, Leadership for Lawyers and Stark County Law Library Blawg

Legal Guide to Blogging from EFF

ø

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a comprehensive Legal Guide for Bloggers. Although it’s called a legal guide, it’s not legal advice (you need a real lawyer for that) — but it’s a great resource for those who worry about the blogging/journalism fuzzy area as well as those who fear business blogging. I thought I would link to it as most lawyers to whom I recommend a blog, are, by their nature, very cautious. Hope this helps.

The guide takes the approach that the gray areas involving intellectual property, defamation, privacy, and media access shouldn’t stop folks from blogging. Says the EFF: “Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle legitimate free expression. That’s why EFF created this guide, compiling a number of FAQs designed to help you understand your rights and, if necessary, defend your freedom.”

Law firm web trends in sales and service era

ø

As clients of law firms are demanding value outside of the billable hour and want firms to demonstrate specific, recent, relevant experience, web sites are playing an ever important role in a firm’s ability to differentiate itself and demonstrate expertise, according to HubbardOne‘s Chris Turk at the LSSO Raindance Conference in Boston June 14.

Said Turk, web teams are being asked to do more with less, which is moving the trend away from expensive personalized web sites toward integration of more efficient web technologies such as: blogs, topical mini-sites, online seminars, rss, and marketing automation systems that integrate firm info into proposal templates for delivery as paper or on-line.

Some stats:
- 74% of large law firms gained clients whose first awareness of firm was through web
(Touchpoint Metrics study of 12 month period).
- 64% of general counsel use the web sites of firms they hire
(Internet Marketing Attorney)

He also pointed out a couple of web sites, Employer’s Deskbook and State HIPAA Study, that are putting commoditized legal information online virtually turning legal services into on-line businesses.

Blogs on television…

2

Funny Jon Stewart bit on cable news coverage of blogs!

Your 15 minutes are up…

ø

More proof in the universe that narrowcasting is the future and mass culture is dying: this Cat and Girl comic. (Posted by permission. Thanks Dorothy.) For more, see Cat and Girl archives.

It’s not about blogs, it’s about being relevant

ø

Coinciding with Larry Bodine‘s presentation on “Starting a Blog for New Business and Revenue” at the Legal Marketing Association – New England Chapter‘s monthly meeting, were articles on blogging in both the Wall Street Journal and Business Week (see Blogs Will Change Your Business). Seems blogs are finally gaining the attention of business. Larry did a great job of demystifying blogs for the legal marketing set and has definitely raised awareness and buzz of blogs for those law firm marketers and lawyers in attendance.

Blogs aren’t new, but realizing that they are very effective in helping an individual or a business gain net presence and search engine strength is suddenly huge. I’d like to emphasize, however, that starting a web log will do nothing for you unless you have something to say. Web logs are just a platform — a virtual soapbox. You can use it to preach to the sky, or you can use it to start a relevant conversation with your clients and potential clients. The key to a good blog* is to create value by staying on niche and becoming a trusted provider of and pointer to the most relevant information. Firms that don’t undertand how to be relevant to their clients won’t “get” how to use a web log for business. Those that are relevant, will figure it out once they see it working for others (that’s just starting to happen now). In the end it’s not the web log that makes you rich, it’s the relationships with both man and machine you create when you publish useful information. Relevant content is the key to both top-of-mind awareness with clients as well as top-of-page results with search engines.

I use the information-of-value strategy with my professional services clients… you know, the give-before-you-get approach — give someone some free information or advice and they’ll better realize how you understand them and can help them. Publishing information of value has long been the best way for professional services folks to brand themselves as experts. This approach has worked well with client web sites and newsletters I manage… they create informational relationships that reinforce brand and lead to new and repeat business. It works. And blogs are just another (albeit highly effective) tool for creating those relationships.

See my Infoworks! web site for more about information of value

See also: Intro to Web Logs for Law Firm Marketing

* I’m not saying this is a good blog. It’s an experiment, from which I learn much.

Log in